Charges dropped for alleged online threats against active San Francisco police chief Toney Chaplin

Toney Chaplin

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — A man who was arrested earlier this summer on suspicion of making criminal threats against acting San Francisco Police Chief Toney Chaplin on the internet has been cleared of all charges, according to the San Francisco Public Defenders Office.

Charges were dismissed against Donald Eric Hoganson, 60, on Aug. 8 after a preliminary hearing, according to Tamara Barak Aparton, a spokeswoman for the public defenders office.

Hoganson was arrested in June at his home in the Sunset District in connection with threatening posts about Chaplin he allegedly made on Twitter.

While the tweets in question are no longer visible, posts from May referencing Chaplin’s appointment as acting chief remain up on Hoganson’s blog. The blog includes frequent mentions of white supremacy and images such as swastikas and photos of lynched black men.

Judge Philip Sarkisian’s decision to dismiss the charges was based on a recent court decision involving similar threats against President Barack Obama in which charges were dropped because there was no evidence of intent to act on the threats, Aparton said.

Prior to the ruling, Hoganson had unsuccessfully asked to court to dismiss his public defender, Landon Davis, as his attorney, in part due to his race, and behaved erratically enough to cause Sarkisian to question his competency to stand trial.”

“Committed public defenders like Landon Davis fight everyday for their clients, even if they disagree vehemently with their views,” Public Defender Jeff Adachi said in a statement.

“They do it because they believe in constitutional protections for everyone,” Adachi said. “That not only includes the right to a zealous defense but the free speech rights granted to all Americans, regardless of their message.”

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